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The Goan players expressed their excitement after having made their first appearance for the national under-23 side...

Dempo SC’s Mandar Rao Dessai and Sporting Clube de Goa’s Joyner Lourenco were pleased with the trust shown by national coach Wim Koevermans in them by fielding the duo against Pakistan Under-23 on Sunday.

“To be honest, I wasn’t nervous at all. But I can say I was very excited. My seniors in the team made me more confident and I tried to give my best,” Dessai told the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) official website.

“Coach (Wim Koevermans) used to say that international football is played at a much higher intensity than domestic-level football. He was so right. It’s too early to say but I am a much more confident player at the moment.”

“Adjusting into the national team’s practice sessions wasn’t tough. Even in our club, we follow the same style of play. So in that sense, it wasn’t all Latin for me,” he further explained having being under the tutelage of Arthur Papas at Dempo.

Lourenco credited Koevermans’s tactical advice for his improvement as a player and that the Czech Republic tour was indeed helpful despite the team failing to win a single match.

“The all round discipline, both on and off the field is a learning curve. The tips which we get from the coach also help in my play, in fact, to be precise, we all are learning.

“The senior players have had a huge influence on everyone. Right from day one, they have goner that extra step to make us comfortable. They mixed with us so easily making us feel a part of the family. They always remind us to maintain our calm.

“We are improving on all aspects and will continue to do so under Wim Sir’s coaching. The tour to Czech Republic was so helpful. We are all eagerly waiting for the Incehon Asian Games.”

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